Badshahi Mosque: One of the few significant architectural monuments of Mughal Era in Lahore
Completed in 1674 under Aurangzeb as the Mughals’ final architectural fling, the sublime Badshahi Mosque, opposite the main gateway to the Lahore Fort, is one of the world’s largest mosques. Replete with huge gateways, four tapering minarets of red sandstone, three vast marble domes, and an open courtyard said to hold up to 100,000 people, it was damaged by the British and later restored.
The rooms (admission Rs5) above the entrance gate are said to house hairs of the Prophet Mohammed and other relics. The mosque looks lovely when it’s illuminated in the evening.
In 1991 the mosque grabbed international headlines when hardline mullahs (Muslim religious leaders) protested at the visit of the late Princess of Wales; her skirt was considered too short and the director of the mosque was criticised for presenting (the then) HRH, a non-Muslim, with a copy of the Quran and allowing her into the sacred precincts while immodestly dressed. The case went to court and ended with the litigant mullahs being ordered to stop wasting the judge’s time.
In the courtyard stands the Tomb of Allama Mohammed Iqbal, a modest memorial in red sandstone to the philosopher-poet who in the 1930s first postulated the idea of an independent Pakistan.
An autorickshaw/taxi from The Mall is Rs80/Rs200.